First Produced: 1956
Engine: Continental-Hercules 2 Cylinder
Top Speed: 25 mph Range: 108 miles
Number Built: 11,240
By the late 1940’s a lighter vehicle was being sought out by the US military to help supplement the venerable Jeep. The need for a light, dependable vehicle became apparent when even the Jeep found difficulty operating in certain rugged terrains. Early tests were conducted by the US Army at Eglin Air Force Base proving its utility as a carrier for both troops and supplies. The “Mule” as it came to be affectionately known, formally entered service in 1956.
The ability to successfully navigate through difficult environments made the Mule a popular asset in Vietnam. An adjustable steering column which would swing out in front of the vehicle so that it could be driven in reverse with the driver walking behind it allowed for increased carrying capacity when necessary. A low profile, along with the option to carry various weapons systems including both light and heavy machine guns, anti-tanks missiles, or recoilless rifles helped compensate for the complete lack of protection offered to the driver and passengers. With the Mule being phased out of service in the 1980’s, its role is now filled by M-Gator produced by John Deere.